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Tory MP speaks out for post offices

PUBLISHED: 11:58 16 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK Tory MP Tim Yeo has accused the Government of threatening the existence of post offices because of its attitude to the new post office card account.

SUFFOLK Tory MP Tim Yeo has accused the Government of threatening the existence of post offices because of its attitude to the new post office card account.

The Shadow trade and industry secretary said some post offices in Suffolk were in danger of closing down because ministers were encouraging pensioners to opt for having their pensions paid directly into bank accounts.

The new post office card account was launched at the beginning of April for the payment of benefit and pensions while giros and order books will be phased out.

Pensioners are given the option of having them paid into a bank account or opening a new post office card account.

Critics have claimed the Government is favouring the bank account option, which could see post offices forced to close as a result of the decline in business.

Suffolk South MP Mr Yeo said: "I think that in Suffolk we have got a lot of post offices where continued payment in cash of pensions is very important to the survival of the post office.

"The Government should be more even handed and make clear there is an alternative of which is the post office card account.

"Plenty of post offices are on the border line in Suffolk and I want to see those saved."

A spokeswoman from the Department for Work and Pensions said it had just launched a national television advertising campaign to inform people of all three options, all three of which were being given equal weighting.

"All three options can be accessed through the post office and customers can make their own decisions about them.

"People will be written to in groups. When they are written to, a helpline will be given for them to call," the spokeswoman added.

Jon Richardson, regional secretary of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, said: "I am very pleased that Mr Yeo has taken up the case as any intervention is helpful.

"As far as I'm concerned, there is definitely a hidden agenda there for the Government not wanting people to draw pensions out of the post office."

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